What is Slackpacking?
And is it for me?
You’ve heard of unwashed, malnourished hikers doing the Fish River Canyon. You’ve encountered backpackers with tons of gear, pots, pans, and a folding stove — eating some gritty dried paste and raving about it.
This is not for you? But you love hiking. In fact, nothing suits you more than a day in the wilderness, except perhaps, a day in the wilderness followed by a slap up meal in a local restaurant. You’d enjoy weeklong expeditions, if only you could jump in a car at the end of the day and head off to a comfortable bed.
Congratulations, you are a confirmed Slackpacker.
“Slackpacking” was originally coined to describe a day’s worth of thru-hiking unencumbered by a pack, after which the hiker would hop in a car and drive home — then drive back some time in the future pick up wherever one left off. The idea was to string together enough of these daytrips to eventually “complete” a much longer trail, without the burden of backpacking. A number of people, for example, “slackpack” the 2,000 mile Appalachian Trail, adding sections like puzzle pieces to their personal trailmap.
Today the definition has expanded, and “slackpacker” has come to represent anyone that fits in between the casual day hiker and the backpacker. On occasion, the slackpacker will indulge in those practices as well, but doesn’t make a habit of lengthy backpack trips. As for the typical National Park Service nature loop, the slackpacker prefers to opt for a longer, more difficult trail to avoid the masses.
Enjoy the Perlemoen Trail!